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Online Backup Solutions?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the just-so-long-as-you-back-up dept.

Data Storage 422

OmnipotentEntity asks: "I'm an IT Manager (and also a lifeguard, don't ask) for a small private club. Recently parts of our server's RAID went bad just as Hurricane Dennis hit, making life a living hell for me and everyone involved. So, I figured perhaps backing up information online would make stuff like this less incredibly painful. A quick browse of Google will show that there are a lot of businesses offering automatic, offsite, online backup solutions. It seems it's becoming a big thing. The largest problem is that they all look alike -- same implementation, similar websites, it looks like someone came through this part of the Internet with a cookie cutter, and by the information available on the website and pricing (which may or may not be available without filling out 100 forms) I can't tell a good company from bad company. I've never had any experience with any of these companies, and I wanted to know if any of you guys had, and if so what were your experiences with them? What are the things to look for? What are the things to avoid? Am I barking up the wrong tree?"

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Backups online (5, Insightful)

Hansele (579672) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138795)

Be really careful with this. What happens if the provider gets hacked?

Re:Backups online (5, Insightful)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138814)

There's this really, really neat thing called 'encryption' you might want to look into.

Re:Backups online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138898)

unless there's some contract guarenteeing the integrety of the data, storing stuff with a third party is just as stupid as not doing any kind of backup.

Re:Backups online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138923)

You better not back up in the UK, unless you want to get your backup provider in trouble...

Re:Backups online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138820)

Encrypt your data. Just like if *you* were cracked.

Re:Backups online (2, Insightful)

ReverendHoss (677044) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138889)

Compare with the probability of the locally stored data being hacked.

A reputable company should have better network security than "a small, private club". With some due-dillegence in checking out the company (beyond "Ask Slashdot"), the threat of hacking shouldn't be a reason to avoid online-backups altogether.

Re:Backups online (3, Informative)

skalcevich (701019) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139043)

I use external USB hard drives with 400GB storage per drive. Swap drives at locations weekly with a spair set. Fast no reaccuring costs and does the job. Tapes are too slow, online is too slow / cost can be a lot for a lot of data. (4, Informative)

alex323 (901730) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138797)

I've always had good experiences with WHat I like about them is that they backup your data as it changes. I find that to be extremely useful.

for personal image backup... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13139061)

...I use Shutterfly [] . They don't have 'buy once a year or we'll delete your stuff' policies, registration is free, and on the off chance I want to order something, their picture quality is great!

They also offer an archive CD [] service if you need periodic hard copies.


veritas netbackup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138802)

i may well have been drinking, but despite the fact that we can't do ndmp restores to our emc nas units, veritas netbackup is the proverbial shizzle, my nizzle.

Hah! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138803)

Frist post!111

Offsite Co-op? (5, Interesting)

kwerle (39371) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138808)

I'm curious to know if there is any kind of off-site co-op. You know - you store my data, and I'll store someone's. Encrypted, blah blah blah.

Call me a commie - but why not?

Re:Offsite Co-op? (1)

xMilkmanDanx (866344) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138909)

Sounds like an interesting idea. One potential problem I see is that some IT departments are staffed by complete nimrods. Other than that, intriguing idea.

Re:Offsite Co-op? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138933)

Not too bad an idea.

kind of along the lines of "real men backup to the usenet" or something along those lines.

I'd go for it, but how do you move the data? most people (in the US) are really strapped for upload BW.

Re:Offsite Co-op? (1)

warkda rrior (23694) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139051)

I'd go for it, but how do you move the data? most people (in the US) are really strapped for upload BW.
Use rsync to transfer the data. The initial transfer is expensive, afterwards you just push the updates. You can also push encrypted files using this scheme without problems.

Re:Offsite Co-op? (1)

mozingod (738108) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138939)

Hmmm, that's pretty interesting. If you ever leaked your partners data, they'd still have yours. Kind of like an assured mutual destruction type setup.

Re:Offsite Co-op? (1)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139084)

If your goal is mainly disaster recovery (and not pampering over user mistakes), you can just share large encrypted tarballs. Leaking them won't reveal anything about your data or yourself.

Only few backup solutions offer encryption, though, and I've only heard of file-level encryption where the file names are transmitted in the clear (only the data itself is encrypted). In this case, this is clearly unacceptable.

Re:Offsite Co-op? (1)

mi (197448) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138998)

I'm working on this exact thing for about a year now. This revolution may even end up being televised.

Watch this space.

rsync+torrent=backup_cloud (3, Interesting)

4of12 (97621) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139016)

I was looking for a free application like that a few weeks ago and found this guy's nice write-up of desired features. []

great solution (4, Informative)

rnd() (118781) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138809)

this [] is a great solution...

Re:great solution (1)

ALecs (118703) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138871)

From the page:
it is securely wrapped in an impenetrable 448-bit encrypted envelope
Umm....sounds like all the claims that Bruce Schnier likes to doghouse.

Re:great solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13139058)

The program uses a 480-bit Blowfish encryption algorithm to protect your data. Triple DES and DES are also available at the user's option.

Re:great solution (2, Insightful)

dancedance (600701) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138949)

While the data does travel over an Internet connection, it is securely wrapped in an impenetrable 448-bit encrypted envelope to prevent any chance of unauthorized access.

When companies make claims like "impenetrable encryption" on their front page, it makes me a little bit worried. When they say "448-bit" encryption, it makes me a bit more worried. When that information is the only thing on their site about what type of security/encryption they are using, I don't think I would ever trust my data with them.

Re:great solution (2)

dlmarti (7677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138950)

Great solution if you have way too much money.
Who is going to pay $20/month to store one CD worth of data.

Really, if we are talking about less that 200G just use a removable drive and a saftey deposit box.

What I really need is a backup for my 3T array. Find that and I might consider a couple hundred a month.

Use gmail. (2, Interesting)

Garridan (597129) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138823)

Gmail gives you 2.42 gigs of storage, and growing! Never delete anything!

Re:Use gmail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138880)

exactly. use the gmail drive shell extension on a windows box, do incremental backups with winrar using 9MB archive files, and you've got free storage
make a gmail account for each server and you've got 2GB for each box.

Re:Use gmail. (1)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138954)

It'll be a great way to backup! (until they suspend your account for abusing their policy...) People who need their data backed up really want this to happen...

Re:Use gmail. (2, Funny)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138995)

Damnit, Larry Page! Stop with the Gurilla Marketing!

Re:Use gmail. (2, Insightful)

ForumTroll (900233) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139000)

Considering most hard drives sold today are in the 120GB-160GB range I don't think everything is going to fit into 2.42 gigs of storage. Furthermore, you have to break that up into small pieces in separate emails if you want to do this via Gmail. People with large backup files are not going to want to saturate their upload bandwidth in order to perform backups using Gmail, not to mention once it gets over 2.42 GB of storage you would need to span across multiple accounts. This may work for a very small subset of users but it's not a good solution for most people and better services are available.

On another note, I imagine Gmail wouldn't be too happy too if all of a sudden everyone had 15 accounts all filled up to the maximum capacity because they were just storing their weekly backups there. The reason they can give so much space is because the vast majority of users don't use 1/100th of that amount of space. Also, deleting a large number of emails becomes a real slow process on Gmail. This would always happen as you're backups need to be divided into small files in order to work with Gmail. For example one backup could be spread out through 30 different emails. They really need some kind of mass delete option or delete by query. Maybe, I'm missing these options if so someone please mention it.

Apple's .Mac offering (1, Interesting)

debrain (29228) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138825)

In a similar vein, how does Apple's .Mac hold up?

I have never used it, and its data storage limitations (250MB??) are ridiculously small for the price ($99/yr?), given free email storage upwards of 1GB. However, I was wondering what others' experiences were?


Re:Apple's .Mac offering (2, Informative)

iguana (8083) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139028)

I use .Mac for backing up my contacts, passwords, and a few small things that I don't want to bother finding on my harddrive.

I can't get it to work through the corporate firewall, it's kind of slow, and it's very small as you said.

On the plus side, it has very good integration with the native Apple backup utility. I do find a USB HD more useful, though. And a USB HD works well with the Apple backup util, too.

A lifeguard!? (2, Funny)

paulproteus (112149) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138836)

I'm curious - what is it like being a lifeguard *and* an IT manager? Does the pay compare?

Re:A lifeguard!? (5, Funny)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138934)

I'm curious - what is it like being a lifeguard *and* an IT manager?

In many ways the jobs are quite similar. Both involve multiple safeguards against the spread of viruses, both deal with sharing limited resources against hundreds of thankless clients, and no matter how pristine you keep either work environment there's always going to be some kid that ruins it by filling your storage solution with shit.

Re:A lifeguard!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13139074)

Both also probably feature large collections of nearly nude females for the administrator's viewing pleasure.

It depends on the pool though. If it is for a retirement center... well, I guess they have fetishes for that.

Needless to say, boobs abound.

Re:A lifeguard!? (1)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138942)

What part of "don't ask" is beyond you?

I lifeguarded and know that lifeguards make from minimum wage starting at a Red Cross facility to ~15/hr as head guard. Find yourself an IT manager and your mystery is solved.

Mod parent down, offtopic.

Re:A lifeguard!? (2, Insightful)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138986)

What part of "don't ask" is beyond you?

It's a hidden invitation to ask, Mr. Literal. There's no other reason for it to be there, because it's never referenced.

I lifeguarded and know that lifeguards make from minimum wage starting at a Red Cross facility to ~15/hr as head guard. Find yourself an IT manager and your mystery is solved.

Mod parent down, offtopic.

Who peed in your Corn Flakes this morning?

Did you do it yourself?

Re:A lifeguard!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138943)

He said a Private Club. Lifeguard job pays more. Just make sure those corporate level execs who are club members wrap that Crackberry in a plastic baggie before they take it in the water... and no answering it when you're in the middle of the deep end.

Re:A lifeguard!? (4, Funny)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138947)

I'm curious - what is it like being a lifeguard *and* an IT manager?

I'd guess that every once in a while, he gets confused and tries to give a server mouth-to-mouth or reboot a drowned swimmer.

Re:A lifeguard!? (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138955)

Who cares about the pay if the coworkers are like Baywatch ( [] )

Re:A lifeguard!? (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139045)

Who cares about the pay if the coworkers are like Baywatch?

I've lifeguarded before. The coworkers are nothing like Baywatch. For one thing, they're human, whereas Baywatch is a television show. For another - and I hope this doesn't come as a shock - reality is nothing like television. Even if they are "like Baywatch," they don't spend much time running and bouncing - more like sitting in a chair under an umbrella, getting POed at hormonal teenage boys who won't leave them alone because they look like a television show.

Re:A lifeguard!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13139047)

I know of a club (bar) where the head cook is also the admin of the network. So i dont' see where an it manager being a lifeguard is that strange. for a small company it doesn't pay to have a full time admin that just sits around waiting for something to break. so you find a person who can do that and fill another position.

I use Data Deposit Box (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138837)

The best I've found so far is [] . Continous back up for 1c/meg/day. Secure website, download files from it, yadda yadda. Just like every other service I guess.

In my experience, they had good customer service, a good data center, strong software, and easy set up. Easy set up was important for lazy folks likeme. I tried to do my own offsite storate with a DVDR and safety deposit box. Didn't work so well.

I run it on two file servers (one for my home and one for my dedicated hosting server) as a service. I back up about 3G of my stuff and pay like $18/month. Hard to beat that. Couldn't find other places that were in that price range.

Re:I use Data Deposit Box (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139004)

The best I've found so far is Continous back up for 1c/meg/day. Secure website, download files from it, yadda yadda. Just like every other service I guess.

Holy crap, at that price they'd better be good!

I mean gee, if I wanted to backup my work directories on there, which amounts to about 2G, that'd be about 7.5 grand a year, not counting ISP costs. And that's not even close to fulfilling my true, complete backup needs.

For that price, I'll get a boxful of hard-disks, trays, and a secure box in some bank (mine's $100/yr) to store them in. I'll true the hard-disks and the bank much more than really...

Re:I use Data Deposit Box (1)

NeilO (20628) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139054)

Get out your calculators. The website says $0.01/meg/month for the first 1 GB. 70% off ($.003) for anything above 1 GB.

So if you want to back up 50GB of data you'll pay $160 per month. All things considered a few external firewire drives and a safety deposit box looks like a pretty good deal.

Do it the old fashioned way (2, Interesting)

rerunn (181278) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138839)

Create backups, then take them home with you if possible. Doing online backups leaves you at the mercy of the provider.

Re:Do it the old fashioned way (1)

Riddlefox (798679) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138885)

That doesn't really help too much if you live a few miles away from your work, and both of the places get flattened by an errant hurricane. I agree with you that online backups may not be a good thing if the provider goes out of business, develops an evil business plan, etc. But it would be less likely to be wiped out by the same natural disaster as the one that takes out your main server.

Re:Do it the old fashioned way (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138967)

You did check that the online datacenter is not next door to you also, right?

Now that would really suck in a huricane or something :(

Do any actually tell you where they are?

Storage Size? (2, Interesting)

Conception (212279) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138841)

I think online backups won't be the future for anyone. If you have a 400GB raid, and you want to back that up, we're talking a lot of time and a lot of bandwidth to transfer that to the online storage. Tape afaik is still the best way to archive data.

Re:Storage Size? (1)

danheskett (178529) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138925)


If you only need the "last good" copy of the data, most services will do a diff backup, so your daily traffic is only the stuff that's changed. Plus, you may be able to set the schedule more than daily, say, hourly, which should make bandwidth requirements pretty even. I have about 1TB of critical data to backup, but on a given day, only about 100-200MB of that changes. After the initial upload that's pretty much a trivial amount of bandwidth.

xdrive (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138842)

We've used xdrive in the past, they're decent I guess []

Re:xdrive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138996)

I've used Xdrive since about 1999...they've been good and they keep giving larger and larger accounts. I think it's about $10 for 5Gb/month now. They also have a winblows client if that helps ya.

Institute for Backup Trauma (1)

nganju (821034) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138853)

I have no idea how good LiveVault's service actually is, but their advertisement starring John Cleese [] is damn funny, and anything but "cookie cutter".

IronMountain (2, Informative)

pgp4privacy (656621) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138865)

Although pricey, IronMountain offers excellent service in this backup genre. []

I highly recommend them if you can afford it.

Aside from that, if you are a smaller shop hit up freshmeat/sourceforge for projects like Bacula and BackupPC...they work well for smaller installs.

Re:IronMountain (1)

lordsatyr (827765) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139010)

One of my clients uses IronMountains small business service. They seem to be happy with it. They offer everything from single PC backup to offsite physical media vault storage. Pricey though.

You said don't ask... (5, Funny)

BaudKarma (868193) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138877)

...but I gotta.

IT Managers get zero chicks. Lifeguards get tons of chicks. What happens when then two are combined in the same person?

(unless of course, you are a chick yourself, in which case I apologize for my blatantly sexist remarks)

Re:You said don't ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13139077)

It's like duct taping a piece of buttered toast butter side up on the back of a cat.. it just hovers above the floor and spins..

Small server, SATA raid array, and a LTO2 drive..

give the tape to the person who goes to the bank everyday (usually someone is always going to the bank for some reason.. usually coffee..) let them put it in the safety deposit box.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of backup tapes.

Re:You said don't ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13139081)

and you can just go ahead and appologize for the blatantly hetero-normative and homophobic remarks while yer at it

Re:You said don't ask... (1)

Daedalus_ (38808) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139093)

Hilarious - mod parent up!

looking as well (1)

wawannem (591061) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138879)

Before the flames start, I want to throw in my two cents.

I have recently rebuild a few of our servers and noticed the high price of tape drives. It seems like you have to spend a grand to get anything decent. So, I've started to look around at what's available online. I've found [] and [] . Both are offering between 5 and 10 gigabytes for between $100 and $200 a month. So, if I want 100 Gig, the only viable option is to spend ~$2,000 (hardware and software), pare down what I am backing up and send it off-site for ~$2,000 a year. Or, homegrow some other solution. What homegrown solutions have people come up with that can backup a heterogeneous environment?

Re:looking as well (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138931)

You think tapes are expensive?

Try NOT having them.

Re:looking as well (1)

SLOviper (763177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139063)

We use a server from [] Simple, big and relatively cheap (5TB ~ $5000).

extra hard drives are the key for me. (3, Informative)

AmiNTT (539586) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138881)

For my back ups, I have a fairly simple system. I picked up two tiny (2.5") external drives - about 60 gigs each. I back up data onto one, and bring it to a nearby bank, where I rent a safe deposit box.

Each Monday, I back a back up to the drive that is at the house (where I work from), and take it to the bank. Then I switch them, putting the newest drive in the bank, and taking home the "old' back up. This gets repeated every week (although admittedly not always on Mondays).

So far, this has worked for me pretty well.

Costs? $250 (Canadian) dollars for the drive and $80 per year for the safe deposit box, which also stores all source miniDV tapes from my event video business.

Re:extra hard drives are the key for me. (1)

AmiNTT (539586) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138920)

That is $250 for both drives, not one.

Re:extra hard drives are the key for me. (1)

NotThatKindOfDoctor (874164) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139011)

The problem with extra hard drives is archiving. Your system works for keeping 2 weeks worth of data. Each time you back up, you overwrite the old data. If you want an archive of the past year or two, extra hard drives are no longer so cost effective.

boxbackup (1)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138883)

boxbackup [] has clients for various platforms. free too

Yahoo, perhaps? (1)

okvol (549849) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138884)

Their briefcase service could be an option.

Backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138901)

One immediate limitation is the amount of data you have to backup and how you connect to the internet. If you have a slow connection and a ton of data to backup chances are the line will be in use by the backup software very often.

Connected DataProtector (2, Informative)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138910)

My company, a 4000-employee Silicon Valley software company, uses Connected DataProtector [] to back up our computers. They have both hosted and unhosted versions, our company is hosting it ourselves. It stores a diff of everyone's computer every day (or some other increment) so that people can back up their computers from any point in the past. I'm just getting started using it, but it looks pretty cool and it was incredibly easy to configure (as a user).

Re:Connected DataProtector (1)

jamis (16403) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138960)

I second Connected. I've been using it for a few years now, as have my parents. Connected was also recently aquired by Iron Mountain, a trusted name in offsite records storage. []

Google it (2, Informative)

op12 (830015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138912)

Not specific companies, but comparisons. Here's a good comparison page...though the page is slow loading already :) _file_storage/reviews.html []

Re:Google it (1)

op12 (830015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139019)

Here's the text from the page (since it has ceased loading)
The graphical ratings they gave were 5 out of 5 for #1, 2, and 3, 4 out of 5 for #4-6, 3 out of 5 for #7-8, 2 out of 5 for #9-10, and 1 out of 5 for the rest.

1. Network Computing Online Backup Services
Steven Hill

Oct. 28, 2004 This is by far the most thorough testing we found on online file-storage services. Six providers are tested, each on identical Dell OptiPlex computers running Windows 2000. Various files, including Office documents, PowerPoint presentations and digital images, are loaded as test data. LiveVault comes in as the editor's choice for its excellent management options and easy interface. However, this service is used to back up servers versus end users' computers, so LiveVault is out of the scope of our report. For end users' computers IBackup also ranks highly. Steven Hill says all of the tested backup solutions were effective, and "The only major difference is in how well their cost and features list mesh with your enterprise-specific backup and user-support requirements."

2. PC Today
Jay Munro

Nov. 2004 PC Today reviews three packages and, while all three prove to provide significant advantages, Files Anywhere Remote Backup stands out as the winner. Xdrive provides the highest amount of storage space for the least amount of money, but isn't as feature-filled as the others. Files Anywhere Remote Backup offers automated online encrypted storage, as does IBackup, and is said to have the best desktop software, automated backups and restoration.

3. PC Magazine
Ben Z. Gottesman

June 8, 2004 This review covers eighteen backup systems in the three formats currently available: Optical media (CDs and DVDs), backup to a second hard drive (either internal or external), and backup to a remote, online backup service. Of the five online systems reviewed, IBackup is preferred most by both editors and members. Editors like its unique features such as e-mailing file attachments straight to your online storage, and configuring an online drive to show up on your computer as a local drive. Connected DataProtector also gets kudos, with editors noting its standout feature of keeping current versions of popular software on their servers, and the ability to data share with other users. Xdrive rates low because of a slow, sensitive interface and because there is no encryption of data on the server.

4. Smart Computing
Christian Perry

Jan. 2005 In the category of online storage, only one service is discussed. Yahoo! Briefcase is touted for its free storage of up to 30MB of data. The perk here, in addition to the savings, is that you can register multiple accounts to increase your storage capabilities. Another standout feature is the ability to grant file access to other Yahoo! users.

5. Smart Computing
Mark Scapicchio

Oct. 2003 Of the online backup services mentioned, such as @Backup and, Smart Computing recommends It's favored because accounts can grow to a virtually unlimited size, it's free up to 1GB of storage, and because plans, and thus prices, are determined by download amount. Reviewer Mark Scapicchio says this may be "considerably less if you're using the service as a backup in case of disaster."

6. PC Magazine
Francisco Cheng

June 17, 2003 In this review of three popular backup services, there is no clear winner. IBackup and Connected score the highest for opposite reasons. IBackup has many features, including a convenient drag/drop tool, but backup time is slow. Connected is quick but has few features. @Backup places third, and editors say it is quick and easy to use. According to Cheng, the definite loser is the now defunct Online Backup Center.

7. Network Computing Backup So Easy Even Your Users Can Do It
Steven Hill

June 10, 2004 Although this article speaks to businesses, online backup services are discussed in a consumer-friendly way. Four fee-based services are discussed: Connected, IBackup, Novastor and Xdrive. However, this article is more information-based versus referral. Hill does include the opinion that Xdrive is "an excellent example of how simple and inexpensive a remote data-backup process can be."

8. PC Magazine
Nick Stam

July 16, 2004 In this individual review, FilesAnywhere receives high marks for its useful features and clear design. Data sharing and a drag-and-drop feature make it easy to use. The negatives of this program are that it is slow and set-up is cumbersome, according to the author.

9. Black Enterprise
Sonya A. Donaldson

Oct. 2004 This brief Q&A offers quick opinions on online storage. While additional backup is suggested, Donaldson recommends online backup especially for business owners who require file access while on the road. Xdrive and IBackup are mentioned.

10. eWeek News Branches Out Into Data Backup
Karen Schwartz

Nov. 26, 2004 While more news than review, this article is a heads-up on new services entering the market. Known for providing domain names, will add online file storage to its services. While their plan is to serve small businesses, Register's pricing will compete with more established online backup companies. Five dollars per month will buy you 100MB of storage.

11. Online File Storage Solutions
Catherine Roseberry

As of Jan. 2005 This short write-up offers three backup suggestions to the mobile office worker. FileGenie tops the list, followed by Xdrive. In a related article, free file storage is discussed. Files Anywhere's free thirty-day trial tops this list.

12. DriveSeek Ratings and Reviews
DriveSeek users

As of Jan. 2005 User opinions of online file storage are listed on this site. Many popular backup services are listed, but write-ups are very brief or limited to an opinionated title only.

13. Epinions Online Storage
Contributors to Epinions

As of Jan. 2005 Of the thirteen services reviewed, the now defunct receives the highest rating with a high number of reviews written. However, no reviews have been added since 2000.

Data Protection Service (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138913)

We've been using DPS for about 2 years now. It requires virtually no maintenance on our end, and has always been available when we've nedded it to restore files. In addition, they have fantastic support. []

What Level of Accessibility Do You Need? (1)

digital photo (635872) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138916)

I would avoid online providers. Too many things can go wrong, least of which is theft of data.

Which option works for you will depend on what level of accessibility you will need.

If you just need to get access to the files in the event of server/site destruction and you can easily re-create the system and just need to re-import the data, then a cheap option would be to get some virtual hosting space or a racked system with tons of storage and a low cost data connection, depending on your quantity of data an budget.

You will regularly encrypt your data and sync it with the remote server. The data will basically be warehoused at the remote server in an encrypted state.

Old archives are deleted as space runs out or after a pre-determined amount of time.

When your primary site dies, you rebuild your servers, copy the files from your remote server, decrypt, and import.

Most virtual hosting places offer several GB of storage and a good deal of bandwidth per month for a mere $35/month. They are not explicitly marked as backup servers, but converting them into a backup server is fairly simple.

If your level of access if critical, then your best option is to have a live duplicate server that you sync your data with. If the main site dies, people will automatically be switched to the backup site until your primary site is rebuilt.

What you choose depends on what you need and how quickly you need to have things back up by.

Online backup? - Capacity (3, Insightful)

tacokill (531275) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138917)

So, umm, how long - exactly - does it take to upload 560 GB over a broadband connection?

Actually, you'd better make that 560 + 560 GB because I may want to back up my OTHER PC as well.

I realize I am being sarchastic but I am always confused by "online" backup simply because it doesn't make much sense from a practicality standpoint. A semi-modern PC has a minimum 40GB sized hard drive. And it only goes up from there. I've been online for quite sometime and while things have gotten MUCH better, with respect to bandwidth, it still takes a LONG, LONG, LONG time to transfer huge amounts of data. Note, I am not talking about your 4.5gig ISO image. I'm talking 20 of them. In a row.

From my point of view: it's dead. Please enlighten me, if you experience is different.

Re:Online backup? - Capacity (4, Informative)

pthisis (27352) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139069)

A semi-modern PC has a minimum 40GB sized hard drive. And it only goes up from there. I've been online for quite sometime and while things have gotten MUCH better, with respect to bandwidth, it still takes a LONG, LONG, LONG time to transfer huge amounts of data. Note, I am not talking about your 4.5gig ISO image. I'm talking 20 of them. In a row.

Most businesses don't care about backing up all of your pr0n and music. For a lot of places, if you back up documents, email, and source code, you've got the core business stuff--and that's often fairly small. You do a full local backup of the servers, have a standard image of the desktops, then do web backups of a few directories nightly (e.g. all files on some samba share, a source repository, email). The web backups are rsync'd (or equivalent) so only the day's changes are transferred.

It's not ideal, but for a lot of places it works. Of course, they often find out after a crash that employees _weren't_ storing everything in "Work Documents" folder like they're supposed to.

For home use I usually just do hourly snapshots to another machine at home (I keep every hour for the last week, and the 4 previous weeks, and montly for 6 months, and then just yearly) with something like: / []

With nothing automated for off-site backups (though I do keep a handful of critical documents off-site by hand).

I cheat and do the initial rsync on local disk, only incremental stuff goes over the network.

Re:Online backup? - Capacity (1)

wolf31o2 (778801) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139086)

Remember that not everyone is limited by some crappy 256K upstream from consumer-grade cable or DSL. It is very possible that someone has a fairly decent Internet connection. A full T-1 would be sufficient for doing most backups. Also remember that most of these places charge based on storage used, so you would only want to use them for the important stuff, not for your 559GB of pr0n. I would say the average small-to-medium business, the ones that would need this sort of solution, probably only have a few GB of data total that is important to them, and I'm sure they could limit that down to what is necessary even more.

GoDaddy has File Folders... (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138921)

I think it was $10/Gig/yr. I was thinking about it it for an offsite backup of my home directory in Linux, but no ftp/ssh access (Only Windows client or web client can be used for sending files), so I figured it wouldn't be the best of choices for automated backups. I also have no clue about the speed (I asked a service rep how fast it could be w/ a maxed out college connection, and he just said it could vary with their server traffic.... The difference between "average 300 k/s" and "average 30 k/s" is pretty important to me.

Not always the way to go... (1)

intmainvoid (109559) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138928)

Online backups are a great idea, but not always feasible. If all you've got is (relatively) tiny word/excel documents to backup then you're fine. But if you're editing huge video files for example, and changing them each day, then you need huge bandwidth to keep backing up the modified file every day, and you'll probably also be paying a premium to store all the incrementals of those huge files.

It might be old fashioned but tape really is pretty cheap per GB.

DataDepositBox - Good for a few clients (1)

ziani (255157) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138930)

I really like these guys [] . They may be too pricy for a large installation, but if you only have a few clients, it's a good deal, real-time "trickle" (and no headaches).

Good Solution (2, Interesting)

pastpolls (585509) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138932)

We have offices in two cities, and on top of our tape backups, we backup to each other. City one backs up via VPN and data encryption to City two, and visa versa. we are actually two seperate companies with the same parent company, so we encrypt the data (even over encrypted VPN) just to be safe from the prying eyes of people on each end.

True story: We both run Citrix servers, and one time we had a data loss at my location. Within an hour, we restored our database and application to an extra server at the remote location and used Citrix to connect our users here to the main database. I could then work on restoring from tape, without the pressure of true downtime, just inconvenience time, which I and management can tolerate.

Attix5 are one of the best IMHO (1)

mav[LAG] (31387) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138952)

Find them here [] . They'll back up your entire site and then only backup diffs after that if you wish - saves bandwidth and time. And their server reliability is second to none (yeah I know companies are singular :)).

Remote mirroring (2, Insightful)

AnonymousJackass (849899) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138961)

While it would be a lot more convenient to have someone else taking care of your backups, I daren't think of how much it will cost you! I don't know how small you are, and how much data you are looking to backup, but unless it's on the order of multiple terabytes, you should consider setting up your own remote mirroring. "Empty" (ie OS free) RAID boxes really are surprisingly cheap, especially for a Tb or two. If the mirror is purely for backup purposes, you could just keep it in the room next door. If you were thinking more along the lines of disaster recovery, you'd need to locate it in a separate building at the very least. Worthwhile doing, especially if you're in a hurricane affected area...

Roll Your Own! (1)

slashfun (831726) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138965)

Seriously, using a combination of Rsync/SSH you can perform periodic backups of all your data, and only transfer the changed *PIECES* of files over your Internet connection. It's fast, efficient and works like a champ after you get the first full backup performed.

Do it yourself? (1)

Tim Macinta (1052) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138971)

Well, for the ultimate in control, you could do it yourself. That's fairly easy if you're running Linux - 'cron', plus 'gpg', plus 'scp' is relatively simple and secure. You just need a server at a managed hosting provider like Rackspace or ServerMatrix.

Windows may be a different story. I have been toying around with the idea of releasing some software that let's you do something similar in Windows. I've written some peer to peer backup software [] that will let you share backups among the computers in your office. It also has an experimental feature that let's you also backup offsite to a web server running PHP (so you can use a commodity provider which is generally far cheaper than managed hosting). I haven't released that feature yet, but will probably do so if enough people express interest.

Get a shell account... (1)

QuasiRob (134012) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138981)

Get a shell account hosted on a server a long way away (or even rent a cheap server), create the backups on your server and sftp them to your new remote server.

How much data do you have? (1)

idkk (414241) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138988)

If you have a lot of data to backup you could always look at FileTek [] who have several levels of archive service.

How about an offsite storage company (1)

kstumpf (218897) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138989)

There are companies that provide offsite storage. We used Iron Mountain. They'd stop by daily and pickup a locked box containing our backup tapes, and drop off a box containing the set coming out of rotation to be recycled. The tapes are taken to their secure facility for storage. (1)

johnny_sas (785125) | more than 9 years ago | (#13138990)

I've used [] myself, but really as a 'secondary' backup, and not as much for 'corporate' stuff either.

Cheaper options. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13138994)

We looked a few of these guys 6 months ago and they all seemed rather expensive. Here is what we do.

(1) raids are cheap, buy 2. Backup one to the other. rsync or nightly depending on your throughput. You should never have to recover from offsite due to hardware problems. Offsite is for when your building burns down (or blows down).

(2) external HDDs are cheap, buy 3. you can get 250Gb for $160 at costco. we have 3 that we monthly dump everything to and sent to one of our investors houses on across the country. She sends the old one back, so always has 2 just in case one of them fails. That is for disaster recovery only.

DAR - Disk Archiver (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13139007)

It's simple and you would only need to send large bandwidth over for your initial backup/snapshot - []

Step 1 - perform a full backup using 2GB DAR Slices (in case you have a 2GB filesize limit)... If you are low on space you can FTP/SCP/RSYNC the slices offsite DURING the backup, which is great!

Step 2 - generate a DAR Catalog file against the full backup/snapshot and store it on your machine.

Step 3 - The next day (or whenever you decide your filesystem has changed enough to warrant another backup), create a DAR Differential backup against the full backup catalog, and only the differences in your filesystem will be saved.

Step 4 - Store the diff offsite

Step 5 - in case of failure, restore the full backup/snapshot followed by a restore of the diff (with overwrite=on). You may also want to store your MBR in case of full failure - just use dd to do that (google for instructions)

Proper disater recovery and data restoration.... (2, Informative)

bjk002 (757977) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139008)

Industry standard disaster recovery involves off-site storage of data on tape/dvd, or other media in a *SECURE* location. Most on-line data storage is by its very nature insecure. Data transfer in general over the web is risky. If you are talking about customer information, this is still very taboo.

Purchase a safety deposit box at your local bank and setup a rotation(daily, weekly, etc..) of cycling you media to and from.

OR, get in touch with another local business person in your area and setup mutual hot-sites within each others facilities.

Questions to ask (1)

pestilence669 (823950) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139013)

One of the questions online backup providers don't like to answer concerns recovery times. 100gb over a 5mbit line still takes longer than next day UPS, which many offer.

A couple providers that I looked at ship both DVD-R's and harddrives in times of emergency. One day for total disaster recovery isn't that bad, IMO. Otherwise, you can do partial restores over the Internet.

The two providers I contacted, both encrypted data with AES. One used an enhanced (CBC?) cipher. Both lose your data permanently if you lose your key. They don't save a copy anywhere (liability & marketing reasons, I'm sure).

If performance isn't a factor, I'd say online backups are worth looking at. Expect prices to be around $50 / GB per month. For myself, I would do this in ADDITION to a pre-existing backup plan.

go with Iron Mountain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13139027)

In the 90s I worked for about 5 years as a QA Engineer for an online file storage company called Xactlabs/Atrieva/Driveway. One of our competitors then was Iron Mountain. They're still in business, so I would recommend them.

Online storage is a convenient option for personal or small business use. These services can backup files on a schedule and save multiple versions of each file.

push it to homesite (1)

dadamus (848195) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139034)

We looked at offsite backup solution few years ago and we sattled on "Not worth the trouble and cost ". Pushing and storing data off site is cheap, but wait till you want to restore that 100GB data. Most vendors charge as little as 10 cents per MB to $5 per MB! What we end up doing is bribed manager with "Free DSL for your home. In return, we want you to host a file server with tape device attached to it." He agreed to rotate tape weekly and it's fine and dandy ever since.

rsync (1)

fava (513118) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139060)

Just use rsync to a server in your home every night via dsl or cable. I have done that for the last 4 years and have about 60 gb of offsite storage.

If the work server would die or be stolen I simply drive home, pick up the entire server or just the drive, bring it back to work and set it up. Total down time is a couple of hours.

Total cost was $0 for an old Pentium 100 server, $100 for a 120gb drive and $40/month for the cable internet.

put a big floatie on it (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139073)

and then throw copies of your hard drive into the pool, they'll be able to ride out any storm :)

Seriously, though, I haven't had much experience with the online data backup solutions, but depending on the sensitivity of the data involved, I would be more likely to do local backups to an external USB drive that you can just unplug and take with you, rather than one of these 100% off-site, online backup services. That being said, if you're not too worried about the privacy of the data, then the offsite guys are probably a really good deal. They have a much higher incentive to keep your data secure (along with their other customers' data) than even you do, because it's their business. Your business is being a club. Security and data protection aren't necessarily supposed to be your bailiwick.

Just Post the Torrent (2, Funny)

dduardo (592868) | more than 9 years ago | (#13139076)

We'll handle the rest.

Tape Drives!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13139087)

Take a tape offsite every day. Do 4 weekday and 4 fridays. But only if your serious about your data.
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